This Boston Globe article highlights how under-siege the drug companies feel. The Rodney Dangerfield’s of the health system, they don’t get no respect.
“We save as many lives, if not more, than firemen and policemen — millions, if not hundreds of millions, of people,” Ohlstein ( a scientist) said in an interview. “But I’m never in a situation where someone says, ‘He works for a drug company,’ and the room breaks into applause.”
Despite scoring key victories in Congress with a $534 billion, taxpayer-funded Medicare prescription benefit with no government price controls, the industry is being cast as a corporate villain by Republican and Democratic politicians alike. Members of both the House and Senate, as well as the governors of New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, are backing the importation of low-cost prescription drugs from Canada — something the drug industry is fighting vigorously.
These makers of potentially lifesaving medicines find themselves just a few rankings higher than cigarette companies on a nationally recognized measure of public opinion produced by Harris Interactive Inc. On a scale of 1 to 10, pharmaceutical makers are in seventh place, having slipped from fifth place in 2002. (Tobacco is in 10th place.)
…the US drug industry is among the nation’s most profitable, with profit margins consistently in the 20 percent range and as high as 30 percent for Merck & Co., according to the closely watched Fortune 500 list released last month.
“They do various things to destroy their image as companies, and to put these drugs beyond the reach of many, many people,” (a critic) said, “and then they run expensive slick ads to tell people they are really not that bad. It’s a silly waste of money.”
Can’t win for losing.